Welcome to NBA signing day tracker: Griffin, Nash, more ink deals

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It’s official, Steve Nash is a Los Angeles Laker. And Blake Griffin is a very rich Clipper.

All the deals that have been reported in the past 10 days — such as Deron Williams re-signing with the Nets — go from “agreement reached” to “pen on paper” today. The league has a 10-day moratorium on signings that begins with free agency July 1, but that is over. Today you sign your name on the line that is dotted.

Here is a running tracker of deals we know to be signed and new deals announced on what will be a busy day (so check back often, all times Eastern).

9:04 P.M.

• Jamal Crawford made it official and signed a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. Adding him and Lamar Odom to their core from last year is an upgrade, we’ll see if it’s enough of one to keep Chris Paul happy.

• Ian Mahinmi was sent to the Pacers in a sign-and-trade (4-years, 16 million) for Darren Collison and Danhtay Jones go to Dallas.

• With Collison gone, the Pacers have targeted D.J. Augustin for a trade.

• J.J. Hickson has signed a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.

5:44 P.M.

• Center Chris Kaman has tweeted that he will be signing with the Dallas Mavericks, teaming up with fellow German National Team member Dirk Nowitzki.

• The Nets have reached a four-year, $61 million deal to keep Brook Lopez. That’s overpaying for him.

5:29 P.M.

• The Dallas Mavericks have reached terms with Chris Kaman, who is a German national team teammate of Dirk Nowitzki.

• Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey confirms that Portland will match Minnesota’s offer for Nicolas Batum and keep him.

4:20 P.M.

• Dwight Howard to the Nets is dead and it sounds like the Magic are retreating from the trade talks for a bit and will reassess where things stand.  What a mess. For Howard, for the Magic, for everyone. And this is really just a hiatus for the trade talks, not an end.

• The Kings re-signed forward Jason Thompson, as had been agreed to a few days back.

3:25 P.M. 

The Dorell Wright trade sending the Warriors swingman to the 76ers just expanded — Jarrett Jack is going to Warriors as part of the deal. The Hornets clear $5.4 million off their books and the Warriors get a true point guard to come off the bench and put up some points. The Hornets are taking back a second round pick, stash in Europe kid.

2:50 P.M.

In another expected move, Tim Duncan has signed his three-year deal to remain with the Spurs.

• It’s official, Marcus Camby is once again a Knick, the trade from the Rockets has been approved by the league.

• The Jazz have officially re-signed the human pogo stick, Jeremy Evans.

• The Nuggets have bought out the European contract of draft pick Evan Fournier and he will be in Denver next season.

1:56 P.M.

• The Nuggets have made the re-signing of Andre Miller official, a three-year deal the sides agreed to last week.

• The sign-and-trade of Ryan Anderson to the Hornets is official now as well.

• Gerald Wallace has signed with the Nets, four years and $40 million.

• Patrick Ewing Jr. has signed to play in Germany.

 12:52 P.M.

• Trades keep on becoming official, including Gary Forbes being sent to the Rockets.

• And Gustavo Ayon trade from the Hornets to the Magic has been cleared by the league.

• There is a growing buzz that Kyle Korver will be traded from the Bulls to the Timberwolves. Not sure what would be coming back the other way yet.

11:52 A.M.

• The complex cap moves of the Houston Rockets — which impacts Jeremy Lin and more — are underway. First, the trade of Kyle Lowry to the Toronto Raptors has been approved. Now they are waiting for approval on the Marcus Camby trade to the Knicks. After those deals are formal the Rockets will have the cap space to sign Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to offer sheets.

The Knicks will match the Lin offer sheet, but now they need to soothe his ego, too, reportedly.

11:05 A.M.

• And it’s official, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis are Miami Heat. They have signed their deals. And the Miami heat team record for most threes taken in a season is about to fall. We can call that one now. By the way, Allen will go back to his old No. 34 with the Heat.

10:40 A.M.

• Well, didn’t see this one coming. The Nets have agreed to a one-year, $1.3 million deal to have Jerry Stackhouse on their team, reports ESPN’s Chad Ford. I think all season I’m just going to refer to him as “the corpse of Jerry Stackhouse.” At age 37 he barely got on the court last season for the Hawks, but I guess the Nets saw something they liked. That or they accidentally were watching scouting tape from 2001.

• The Knicks have signed James White to a deal.

9:59 A.M.

• The Pacers and Roy Hibbert skipped the formalities of matching the Portland max offer sheet and Indy just offered him a max deal, which he will sign, Ken Berger at CBSSports.com tweets. The outcome is the same but the Blazers don’t have their cap space tied up for three days while the matching process takes place.

• The Suns and Hornets apparently will go through the matching game motions, Eric Gordon is expected to sign a max off sheet from Phoenix today, reports the Arizona Republic. The Hornets will match eventually, even though Gordon has said he wants to play for the Suns. He is key to the rebuilding in New Orleans.

• Nenad Krstic has signed to stay with CSKA Moscow and will not be returning to the NBA.

9:35 A.M.

• The Lakers and Suns made the Steve Nash trade official. Nash joins Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol (the last two of those for now at least) in L.A. to form a contender that could challenge the Thunder if everything comes together for them (and they get another perimeter shooter/defender). By the way, Nash will wear No. 10 with the Lakers (his No. 13 is retired as Wilt Chamberlain’s number).

• We told you already that Deron Williams remains a Net and will make enough money to live in New York City. Which is no small feat. The only interesting note here to add is that he was given the official contract on an iPad and signed his name with his finger. Honestly not sure how my signature would look if I tried that.

• Blake Griffin put his name on the dotted line and will remain with the Clippers, a five-year deal but the final year of that is a player option. This is Griffin’s first post rookie deal contract and there was never any doubt he would take the big payday to stay in L.A. The real challenge for the Clippers now is getting Chris Paul to stay next summer.

• J.R. Smith inked a two-year deal to be a designated gunner with the New York Knicks.

• Darrell Athur is in Memphis and signed a new three-year deal with the Grizzlies.

• The Grizzlies also added Jerryd Bayless. That is a couple good, affordable role players signings for them.

According to reports out of Spain, Portland has signed Joel Freeland to a three-year, $9 million deal. Freeland was the last pick of the first round by the Blazers back in 2006, but he has only played in Europe (Spain, specifically) since then. He is a 6’11” power forward who is fairly athletic and has a midrange game, according to reports. We will see, a three-year deal is a risk, but you can bet Freeland is taking a pay cut to come to the NBA. There also is a buyout issue that could kill this deal.

• For those that follow the international game, interesting tweet from Sportando: “In NBA McCalebb was offered up to $4.7M per season but his Buyout is too high plus he would be a backup getting less money than Europe”

• By the way, the league made the salary cap numbers for next year official and as expected they track this year’s — the cap is at $58.044 million, the luxury tax line is $70.307.

• Keep checking back, we’ll be adding to this post and tracking the signings as the day goes on.

Report: FBI investigating Big Baller Brand co-founder Gregory Alan Foster

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It’s sad that people take advantage of athletes. A lot of people do it when these guys are very young and clearly talented, and Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball is no stranger to that.

Ball cut ties with his Big Baller Brand earlier this year, even covering up his “BBB” tattoo with a bad-looking pair of dice. This was because Gregory Alan Foster, one of his confidants and business partners, allegedly stole money from the company to the tune of several million dollars.

Now the FBI is reportedly investigating Foster for his involvement in bilking money from Ball.

Via LA Times:

The FBI is now investigating whether Foster defrauded the Ball family out of millions of dollars, according to two law enforcement sources. While it’s unclear when exactly the official investigation began, one of those sources said it is at least two months old.

Lonzo Ball and the family’s shoe and clothing business recently accused Foster in a lawsuit of taking more than $1.5 million out of the company’s bank accounts and accepting “substantial undisclosed referral fees” from at least eight loans he arranged on behalf of the company.

“[Foster is] like my second dad,” Lonzo replied. “So when he came to me, I just talked to him and I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. He just gave me his story. Now, looking back at it, obviously I wish we would have jumped at it back in October.”

According to the Times, Foster’s whereabouts are currently unknown. Hopefully Ball will be able to recover some kind of financial damages from all of this.

Spurs’ smart defense, veterans force Game 7 with 120-103 win over Nuggets

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Nikola Jokic had a career night — 43 points, a personal and franchise playoff best, plus 12 rebounds and nine assists. Once again the two-man game, the pick-and-roll with him and Jamal Murray got into the lane and carved up San Antonio.

The Spurs lived with that. What they did, however, was not collapse off Denver’s shooters to help in the paint — to try to contest twos but give up good-look threes. Denver got its buckets inside — they won the points in the paint battle 72-36 — but shot just 8-of-31 outside the paint on the night.

The Nuggets stars took the shots they were given — Jokic and Murray combined to take 51 percent of Denver’s shots, up from 34.6 percent and 40.5 percent in the previous two wins — but the ball movement and transition buckets that characterize the Nuggets were missing. The Spurs took that away.

Combine that with veterans LaMarcus Aldridge (26 points on 10-of-18 shooting), DeMar DeRozan (25 points on 12-of-16 shooting), and Rudy Gay (19 points on 7-of-11 shooting) stepping up and you end up with the Spurs pulling away for a 120-103 Game 6 win on their home court.

It forces Game 7 Saturday in Denver. The winner advances to take on Portland in the second round.

“We didn’t defend tonight, from the jump ball,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said. “They came out and scored 34 points in the first quarter, shot 70 percent or close to it [66.7 percent in first], and to give up 120 points in a potential elimination game, 57 [percent shooting]. It just wasn’t good enough.”

The game was decided by a 22-4 San Antonio run that spanned the end of the third and into the start of the fourth quarter, when the Nuggets pulled away.

“It was turnovers for us, it was offensive rebounds for them, and just no defense,” Malone said of the run.

The other difference in the game was the three-point shooting, an area where the Nuggets have dominated through the first five games. Thursday both teams took 24 shots from three, but the Spurs made 10 and the Nuggets six. That’s a dozen points to San Antonio in an area Denver needs to win.

It was like that all night.

San Antonio came out playing like the desperate team on the brink of elimination, playing with energy and staring out 7-of-10 from the floor. The Spurs built up a 10-point point first-quarter lead behind Aldridge, who had 13 points in the first quarter, 6-of-9 from the floor, plus the team shot 65.4 percent for the quarter.

Denver was not phased (this was the fifth time in six games they lost the first quarter), and after shooting 0-of-7 in the first quarter hit 4-of-5 to start the second. The Nuggets got back to playing the kind of ball-movement hoops — with a lot of Murray and Jokic playing off each other and scoring — and the Nuggets grabbed the lead back in the quarter. However, after a DeRozan putback bucket off his own missed free throw at the buzzer gave the Spurs a 64-60 lead at the half. That hustle play seemed to signify the Spurs night.

The game was close through much of the third, but the trends favored San Antonio.

Then the late-quarter run started, and Denver faded. Now they need to find their mojo on the plane home, because Saturday is win-or-go-home for everybody.

Chris Paul doesn’t like anyone touching the top of his head (VIDEO)

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Chris Paul is listed at six feet tall, and he’s definitely not any shorter than that. Nope, no sir. To even suggest as much would be ridiculous!

In any case, Paul is shorter than most of his teammates because he plays in the NBA. As such, Paul has probably had a lifetime of everyone towering over him despite his obvious incredible talent surpassing those of his compatriots.

So maybe being touched on the top of the head is a weird “thing” for him? At least, that’s what it appeared to be from this video.

Via Twitter:

You know somebody has a trigger when they are ready to turn around and fight you after a playoff series win, especially when they’re your own teammate.

Note to everybody: don’t touch the top of Chris Paul’s head.

Hall of Famer and Celtics hero John Havlicek dies at 79

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Hall of Famer and Boston Celtics Legend John Havlicek has died.

According to the team, the 13-time All-Star passed away peacefully in his home in Jupiter, Fla. The Celtics released an announcement on their website marking Havlicek contribution to the team.

Via Boston Celtics:

John Havlicek is one of the most accomplished players in Boston Celtics history, and the face of many of the franchise’s signature moments. He was a great champion both on the court and in the community, winning 8 NBA championships and an NBA Finals MVP, while holding Celtics career records for points scored and games played. Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, he is enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame and his retired #17 hangs in the Garden rafters. His defining traits as a player were his relentless hustle and wholehearted commitment to team over self. He was extraordinarily thoughtful and generous, both on a personal level and for those in need, as illustrated by his commitment to raising money for The Genesis Foundation for Children for over three decades through his fishing tournament. John was kind and considerate, humble and gracious. He was a champion in every sense, and as we join his family, friends, and fans in mourning his loss, we are thankful for all the joy and inspiration he brought to us.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released this statement:

“John Havlicek was a wonderful friend who represented the best of the NBA.  He described himself as a man of routine and discipline – a humble approach that produced extraordinary results, including eight NBA championships with the Boston Celtics, 13 All-Star selections and some of the most iconic moments in league history.  A trusted teammate who prioritized winning, John’s passion and energy endeared him to basketball fans and made him a model for generations of NBA players.  We send our deepest sympathies to John’s wife, Beth, his son, Chris, and his daughter, Jill, as well as the entire Celtics organization.”

No matter what kind of basketball fan you are, if you know anything about the history of the game you at least have the phrase “Havlicek stole the ball!” burned into the folds of your brain.

That famous steal came in the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals to seal a Game 7 win against Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia 76ers. Boston would go on to beat the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the Finals that season.

Thoughts are with Havlicek family and Celtics fans, who of course will remember him in their own special way today.